The National Investigation Agency has seized a black Mercedes, which was allegedly driven by suspended Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze, reported NDTV on Wednesday. The central agency is investigating the case of an SUV found with explosives near the residence of Reliance Industries chairperson Mukesh Ambani last month.
“We have recovered the number plate that was on the Scorpio car [found outside the residence of Mukesh Ambani], over Rs 5 Lakh in cash, a note-counting machine and some clothes…Sachin Vaze used to drive this car,” senior NIA officer Anil Shukla told reporters. “The ownership of the car is under investigation.”
The SUV laden with explosives was found outside near Ambani’s residence on February 25. It also had a note threatening the industrialist and his wife Neeta Ambani, according to NDTV. The car belonged to auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran, who had filed a stolen report with the police on February 17.
Hiran was found dead in a creek near Mumbai on March 5. His wife has alleged that Vaze, the first investigating officer in the bomb scare case, had used the car for four months and returned it on February 5. She has also accused Vaze of having a role in her husband’s death.
After the bomb scare case was transferred to the central agency, it had summoned Vaze for questioning. On Sunday, the NIA had told a court that prima facie it appears Vaze was driving the car seen escorting the SUV with explosives on February 25, according to The Indian Express. The central agency had made the statement while seeking Vaze’s custody. Vaze was arrested on March 13 and remanded to NIA’s custody till March 25.
Unidentified officials at the central agency said Vaze was the person seen on CCTV footage wearing a kurta and covering his face outside Ambani’s residence on the day of the incident.
In its remand application filed before the special court, the NIA claimed that the police officer was involved in planting the SUV outside Ambani’s residence. The agency is tracking CCTV footage to gather more evidence on an alleged meeting between Vaze and Hiran.
Meanwhile, unidentified officials told the Hindustan Times that Vaze was behind the bomb scare, which he orchestrated as part of a conspiracy to restore his reputation as a successful police officer.
“He wanted to prove to Mumbai Police brass that he is still as good by solving a bomb conspiracy so he planned this whole episode to plant explosives outside Antilia [Ambani’s residence],” said an officer. “He wanted the limelight again.”
Another officer told the Hindustan Times that Vaze tried to cover the loose ends he left on February 25, including the destruction of some CCTV footage. “He probably never thought that investigation would reach the NIA and that his plan to regain his lost glory would tank,” the unidentified officer added.